Letter From The Principal

 

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Dear Parents, Students, and Friends of St. Joseph School,

The year has passed so quickly! We are already in the 3rd quarter of the school year and many wonderful things are taking place here at SJS. One of the questions I often get is- “What happens on FLEX days in your school?”, so I thought I’d take some time to tell you what happened last Friday during our FLEX day.
The students have been working on two major components of STEM education- The Habits of Mind and Problem-Based Learning. This past Friday, Mrs. Eads gave a presentation on the 4th Habit of Mind we are studying- RESILIENCE! This was such an opportune time to talk with the students about working through frustration, not giving up, and using a growth mindset to problem solve because of the Olympics beginning last week as well. After the presentation the classes spent time practicing being resilient in developmentally appropriate ways. Here are some examples:
-The 5th grade built ski slaloms out of little flags and foam core board and had to roll a marble through the slalom without it falling off. The students worked in teams to complete the task. Once the basic task was completed they were challenged with the further constraint to arrange the flags so they could have a faster time without compromising the quality of the course. It took a lot of resilience to start over each time the marble rolled off and away, but they each ended successfully.
-The second graders worked on being resilient with their minds by trying several logic puzzles. Each puzzle got a little harder and challenged the students to keep thinking and flipping their thinking as they used process of elimination to solve each problem.
We are also making progress on our whole school PBL focused on the carbon footprint of SJS. Here are some details:
How can SJS reduce our energy use?
1st grade researched what energy is and the types of energy specifically used by SJS. They made an iMovie and presented this to the 2nd and 5th grade. The 2nd graders then researched why we should reduce our energy usage and gave specific recommendations to the school and staff based on their findings in a voiced-over iMovie using their original artwork to illustrate the concepts. Now 5th grade is answering the question- So what?? This part involves taking this information and using it to raise awareness outside of just our school building/SJS community. They will be spending FLEX time working on this in the future.
How can SJS reduce our waste?
Kindergarten began talking about what waste is and what we waste at SJS. They presented their findings to the 3rd graders who continued to explore why SJS would want to reduce our waste and how we can actually reduce our waste. They are beginning by tackling lunches here at SJS. They sent out a survey to the K-8 students to collect data. They analyzed the data and came up with a plan to weigh the garbage at lunch for one week and then challenge the students to pack a waste-free lunch and they plan to compare their findings and use it to show the importance of being waste conscious. The 4th graders will then take over and answer the “So what?” part of this question, deciding how all of the work and information they gathered can benefit people outside of our walls.
How can SJS increase their use of renewable energy?
The 6th, 7th, and 8th graders are tackling the topic of renewable energy. They are researching types of renewable/alternative energy and then narrowing down these types to choices that would actually work for SJS. They are analyzing utility bills with the help of our parish finance secretary and contacting schools and businesses that use renewable energy to try to get a comparison on the amount of energy saved when using an alternative choice. They hope to make a recommendation to Fr. Tim regarding ways that SJS can save money and the environment at the same time. They also hope to be able to use this knowledge to further support alternative energy in the community by partnering with an energy conservation company and influencing change in new construction in Lorain County in the future. This project has been a large focus of FLEX time in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades.
So, If you’re wondering what happens on a FLEX day… the answer is- A LOT!

 

Makruski_Mrs.119
Mrs. Amy Makruski
Principal, Saint Joseph School